Kazakh language

Kazakh language

Overview
Kazakh is a Turkic language which belongs to the Kipchak (or Western Turkic) branch of the Turkic languages, closely related to Nogai
Nogai language
Nogai , is a Turkic language spoken in southwestern Russia. Three distinct dialects are recognized: Qara-Nogay , spoken in Dagestan; Nogai Proper, in Stavropol; and Aqnogay , by the Kuban River, its tributaries in Karachay-Cherkessia, and in the Mineralnye Vody District...

 and Karakalpak
Karakalpak language
Karakalpak is a Turkic language mainly spoken by Karakalpaks in Karakalpakstan , as well as by Bashkirs and Nogay. Ethnic Karakalpaks who live in the viloyatlar of Uzbekistan tend to speak local Uzbek dialects.-Classification:...

.

Kazakh is an agglutinative language
Agglutinative language
An agglutinative language is a language that uses agglutination extensively: most words are formed by joining morphemes together. This term was introduced by Wilhelm von Humboldt in 1836 to classify languages from a morphological point of view...

, and it employs vowel harmony
Vowel harmony
Vowel harmony is a type of long-distance assimilatory phonological process involving vowels that occurs in some languages. In languages with vowel harmony, there are constraints on which vowels may be found near each other....

.

The Kazakh language has its speakers (mainly Kazakhs
Kazakhs
The Kazakhs are a Turkic people of the northern parts of Central Asia ....

) spread over a vast territory from the Tian Shan mountains
Tian Shan
The Tian Shan , also spelled Tien Shan, is a large mountain system located in Central Asia. The highest peak in the Tian Shan is Victory Peak , ....

 to the western shore of Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

. Kazakh is the official state language of Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

, in which nearly 10 million speakers are reported to live (based on the CIA World Factbook's estimates for population and percentage of Kazakh speakers) .
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Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
Kazakh is a Turkic language which belongs to the Kipchak (or Western Turkic) branch of the Turkic languages, closely related to Nogai
Nogai language
Nogai , is a Turkic language spoken in southwestern Russia. Three distinct dialects are recognized: Qara-Nogay , spoken in Dagestan; Nogai Proper, in Stavropol; and Aqnogay , by the Kuban River, its tributaries in Karachay-Cherkessia, and in the Mineralnye Vody District...

 and Karakalpak
Karakalpak language
Karakalpak is a Turkic language mainly spoken by Karakalpaks in Karakalpakstan , as well as by Bashkirs and Nogay. Ethnic Karakalpaks who live in the viloyatlar of Uzbekistan tend to speak local Uzbek dialects.-Classification:...

.

Kazakh is an agglutinative language
Agglutinative language
An agglutinative language is a language that uses agglutination extensively: most words are formed by joining morphemes together. This term was introduced by Wilhelm von Humboldt in 1836 to classify languages from a morphological point of view...

, and it employs vowel harmony
Vowel harmony
Vowel harmony is a type of long-distance assimilatory phonological process involving vowels that occurs in some languages. In languages with vowel harmony, there are constraints on which vowels may be found near each other....

.

Geographic distribution


The Kazakh language has its speakers (mainly Kazakhs
Kazakhs
The Kazakhs are a Turkic people of the northern parts of Central Asia ....

) spread over a vast territory from the Tian Shan mountains
Tian Shan
The Tian Shan , also spelled Tien Shan, is a large mountain system located in Central Asia. The highest peak in the Tian Shan is Victory Peak , ....

 to the western shore of Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

. Kazakh is the official state language of Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

, in which nearly 10 million speakers are reported to live (based on the CIA World Factbook's estimates for population and percentage of Kazakh speakers) . More than a million speakers reside in China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
The 2002 Russian Census
Russian Census (2002)
Russian Census of 2002 was the first census of the Russian Federation carried out on October 9 through October 16, 2002. It was carried out by the Russian Federal Service of State Statistics .-Resident population:...

 reported 560,000 Kazakh speakers in Russia.
Other sizable populations of Kazakh speakers live in Mongolia
Mongolia
Mongolia is a landlocked country in East and Central Asia. It is bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its western-most point is only from Kazakhstan's eastern tip. Ulan Bator, the capital and largest...

 (fewer than 200,000). Large numbers exist elsewhere in Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

 (mostly in Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan , officially the Republic of Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia and one of the six independent Turkic states. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south....

) and other parts of former Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, and in Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

, Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 and other countries. There are also some Kazakh speakers in Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 who immigrated from Turkey in the 1970s.

Writing system



Today, Kazakh is written in the Cyrillic alphabet
Cyrillic alphabet
The Cyrillic script or azbuka is an alphabetic writing system developed in the First Bulgarian Empire during the 10th century AD at the Preslav Literary School...

 in Kazakhstan and Mongolia, while the more than one million Kazakh-speakers in China use an Arabic
Arabic alphabet
The Arabic alphabet or Arabic abjad is the Arabic script as it is codified for writing the Arabic language. It is written from right to left, in a cursive style, and includes 28 letters. Because letters usually stand for consonants, it is classified as an abjad.-Consonants:The Arabic alphabet has...

-derived script similar to that used to write Uyghur
Uyghur language
Uyghur , formerly known as Eastern Turk, is a Turkic language with 8 to 11 million speakers, spoken primarily by the Uyghur people in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of Western China. Significant communities of Uyghur-speakers are located in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, and various other...

.

The oldest known written records of languages closely related to Kazakh were written in the Orkhon script
Orkhon script
The Old Turkic script is the alphabet used by the Göktürk and other early Turkic Khanates from at least the 7th century to record the Old Turkic language. It was later used by the Uyghur Empire...

. However, it is not believed that any of these varieties were direct predecessors of Kazakh. Modern Kazakh has historically been written using versions of the Latin
Latin alphabet
The Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most recognized alphabet used in the world today. It evolved from a western variety of the Greek alphabet called the Cumaean alphabet, which was adopted and modified by the Etruscans who ruled early Rome...

, Cyrillic
Cyrillic alphabet
The Cyrillic script or azbuka is an alphabetic writing system developed in the First Bulgarian Empire during the 10th century AD at the Preslav Literary School...

 and Arabic
Arabic alphabet
The Arabic alphabet or Arabic abjad is the Arabic script as it is codified for writing the Arabic language. It is written from right to left, in a cursive style, and includes 28 letters. Because letters usually stand for consonants, it is classified as an abjad.-Consonants:The Arabic alphabet has...

 scripts.

In October 2006, Nursultan Nazarbayev
Nursultan Nazarbayev
Nursultan Abishuly Nazarbayev has served as the President of Kazakhstan since the nation received its independence in 1991, after the fall of the Soviet Union...

, the President
President
A president is a leader of an organization, company, trade union, university, or country.Etymologically, a president is one who presides, who sits in leadership...

 of Kazakhstan, brought up the topic of using the Latin alphabet instead of the Cyrillic alphabet as the official script for Kazakh in Kazakhstan. A Kazakh government study released in September 2007 said that Kazakhstan could feasibly switch to a Latin script over a 10- to 12-year period, for a cost of $300 million. On December 13, 2007, however, President Nazarbayev announced a decision not to advance the transformation to a Latin alphabet: “For 70 years the Kazakhstanis read and wrote in Cyrillic. More than 100 nationalities live in our state. Thus we need stability and peace. We should be in no hurry in the issue of alphabet transformation”.
Cyrillic Script Arabic Script Latin Script English translation
Барлық адамдар тумысынан азат және қадір-қасиеті мен кұқықтары тең болып дүниеге келеді. Адамдарға ақыл-парасат, ар-ождан берілген, сондықтан олар бір-бірімен туыстық, бауырмалдық қарым-қатынас жасаулары тиіс. بارلىق ادامدار تۋمىسىنان ازات جانە قادىر-قاسيەتى مەن كۇقىقتارى تەڭ بولىپ دۇنيەگە كەلەدى. ادامدارعا اقىل-پاراسات، ار-وجدان بەرىلگەن، سوندىقتان ولار ءبىر-بىرىمەن تۋىستىق، باۋىرمالدىق قارىم-قاتىناس جاساۋلارى ءتيىس. Barlıq adamdar twmısınan azat jäne qadir-qasïyeti men kuqıqtarı teñ bolıp dünïyege keledi. Adamdarğa aqıl-parasat, ar-ojdan berilgen, sondıqtan olar bir-birimen twıstıq, bawırmaldıq qarım-qatınas jasawları tïis. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Phonology


Kazakh exhibits tongue-root vowel harmony
Vowel harmony
Vowel harmony is a type of long-distance assimilatory phonological process involving vowels that occurs in some languages. In languages with vowel harmony, there are constraints on which vowels may be found near each other....

, with some words of recent foreign origin (usually of Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

 or Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 origin) as exceptions. There is also a system of rounding harmony which resembles that of Kyrgyz, but which does not apply as strongly and is not reflected in the orthography.

Consonants


The following chart depicts the consonant inventory of standard Kazakh; many of the sounds, however, are allophones of other sounds or appear only in recent loan-words. The 18 consonant phonemes listed by Vajda are in bold—since these are phonemes, their listed place and manner of articulation are very general, and will vary from what is shown. The borrowed phonemes /f/, /v/, /ɕ/, /tɕ/ and /x/, only occur in recent mostly Russian borrowings, and are shown in parentheses in the table below.

In the table, the elements left of a divide are voiceless
VOICED
Virtual Organization for Innovative Conceptual Engineering Design is a virtual organization that promotes innovation in engineering design. This project is the collaborative work of researchers at five universities across the United States, and is funded by the National Science Foundation...

, while those to the right are voiced.
caption | Kazakh consonant phonemes
Labials
Labial consonant
Labial consonants are consonants in which one or both lips are the active articulator. This precludes linguolabials, in which the tip of the tongue reaches for the posterior side of the upper lip and which are considered coronals...

Dental/
Alveolar
Alveolar consonant
Alveolar consonants are articulated with the tongue against or close to the superior alveolar ridge, which is called that because it contains the alveoli of the superior teeth...

Palato-
alveolar
Postalveolar consonant
Postalveolar consonants are consonants articulated with the tongue near or touching the back of the alveolar ridge, further back in the mouth than the alveolar consonants, which are at the ridge itself, but not as far back as the hard palate...

Alveo-
palatal
Velar
Velar consonant
Velars are consonants articulated with the back part of the tongue against the soft palate, the back part of the roof of the mouth, known also as the velum)....

Uvular
Uvular consonant
Uvulars are consonants articulated with the back of the tongue against or near the uvula, that is, further back in the mouth than velar consonants. Uvulars may be plosives, fricatives, nasal stops, trills, or approximants, though the IPA does not provide a separate symbol for the approximant, and...

Glottal
Glottal consonant
Glottal consonants, also called laryngeal consonants, are consonants articulated with the glottis. Many phoneticians consider them, or at least the so-called fricative, to be transitional states of the glottis without a point of articulation as other consonants have; in fact, some do not consider...

Nasal
Nasal consonant
A nasal consonant is a type of consonant produced with a lowered velum in the mouth, allowing air to escape freely through the nose. Examples of nasal consonants in English are and , in words such as nose and mouth.- Definition :...

m ⟨м⟩ n ⟨н⟩ ŋ ⟨ң⟩
Plosive p ⟨п⟩ b ⟨б⟩ t ⟨т⟩ d ⟨д⟩ k ⟨к⟩ ɡ ⟨г⟩ q ⟨қ⟩ ɢ ⟨ғ⟩
Fricative
Fricative consonant
Fricatives are consonants produced by forcing air through a narrow channel made by placing two articulators close together. These may be the lower lip against the upper teeth, in the case of ; the back of the tongue against the soft palate, in the case of German , the final consonant of Bach; or...

(f) ⟨ф⟩ (v) ⟨в⟩ s ⟨с⟩ z ⟨з⟩ ʃ ⟨ш⟩ ʒ ⟨ж⟩ (ɕ) ⟨щ⟩ (x) ⟨х⟩ h ⟨һ⟩
Affricate
Affricate consonant
Affricates are consonants that begin as stops but release as a fricative rather than directly into the following vowel.- Samples :...

(tɕ) ⟨ч⟩
Tap
Flap consonant
In phonetics, a flap or tap is a type of consonantal sound, which is produced with a single contraction of the muscles so that one articulator is thrown against another.-Contrast with stops and trills:...

ɾ ⟨р⟩
Approximant
Approximant consonant
Approximants are speech sounds that involve the articulators approaching each other but not narrowly enough or with enough articulatory precision to create turbulent airflow. Therefore, approximants fall between fricatives, which do produce a turbulent airstream, and vowels, which produce no...

l ⟨л⟩ j ⟨й⟩ w ⟨у⟩

Vowels


Kazakh has a system of nine phonemic vowels, three of which are diphthongs. The rounding contrast and /æ/ generally only occur as phonemes in the first syllable of a word, but do occur later allophonically; see the section on harmony below for more information.

According to Vajda, the front/back quality of vowels is actually one of neutral versus retracted tongue root.

Per convention, rounded vowels are presented to the right of their unrounded counterparts. Phonetic values are paired with the corresponding character in Kazakh's Cyrillic alphabet.
Kazakh vowel phonemes
−RTR
("Front
Front vowel
A front vowel is a type of vowel sound used in some spoken languages. The defining characteristic of a front vowel is that the tongue is positioned as far in front as possible in the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant. Front vowels are sometimes also...

")
+RTR
("Back
Back vowel
A back vowel is a type of vowel sound used in spoken languages. The defining characteristic of a back vowel is that the tongue is positioned as far back as possible in the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant. Back vowels are sometimes also called dark...

")
Diphthong
Diphthong
A diphthong , also known as a gliding vowel, refers to two adjacent vowel sounds occurring within the same syllable. Technically, a diphthong is a vowel with two different targets: That is, the tongue moves during the pronunciation of the vowel...

ised
/i̯ɘ/, ⟨е⟩ /y̯ʉ/, ⟨ө⟩ /u̯ʊ/, ⟨о⟩
Close
Close vowel
A close vowel is a type of vowel sound used in many spoken languages. The defining characteristic of a close vowel is that the tongue is positioned as close as possible to the roof of the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant.This term is prescribed by the...

/ɘ/, ⟨i⟩ /ʉ/, ⟨ү⟩ /ə/, ⟨ы⟩ /ʊ/, ⟨ұ⟩
Open
Open vowel
An open vowel is defined as a vowel sound in which the tongue is positioned as far as possible from the roof of the mouth. Open vowels are sometimes also called low vowels in reference to the low position of the tongue...

/æ/, ⟨ә⟩ /ɑ/, ⟨а⟩

Morphology and syntax


Kazakh is generally verb-final, though various permutations on SOV (subject–object–verb) word order can be used. Verbal and nominal morphology
Morphology (linguistics)
In linguistics, morphology is the identification, analysis and description, in a language, of the structure of morphemes and other linguistic units, such as words, affixes, parts of speech, intonation/stress, or implied context...

 in Kazakh exists almost exclusively in the form of agglutinative suffixes.

Case


Kazakh has 7 cases. Case endings are applied only to the last element of a noun phrase—e.g., a noun, an adject, or a nominalised verb phrase. The endings outlined in the chart below are applied to a word ending in a front vowel, a word ending in a back vowel, a word ending in each of those with a voiced consonant, and a word ending with each of this and an unvoiced consonant. Note that the suffixes for the instrumental case do not follow vowel harmony—the vowel is a front vowel regardless of the other vowels in the word.
Declension of nouns
Case Morpheme Possible forms кеме "ship" ауа "air" шелек "bucket" сәбіз "carrot" бас "head" тұз "salt"
Nom кеме ауа шелек сәбіз бас тұз
Acc -NI
кемені ауаны шелекті сәбізді басты тұзды
Gen -NIŋ
кеменің ауаның шелектің сәбіздің бастың тұздың
Dat -GA
кемеге ауаға шелекке сәбізге басқа тұзға
Loc -DA
кемеде ауада шелекте сәбізде баста тұзда
Abl -DAn
кемеден ауадан шелектен сәбізден бастан тұздан
Inst -Men
кемемен ауамен шелекпен сәбізбен баспен тұзбен

Pronouns


Kazakh has eight personal pronouns:
Personal pronouns
Singular Plural
Kazakh (transliteration) English Kazakh (transliteration) English
Мен (Men) I Біз (Biz) We
Сен (Sen) You (singular informal) Сендер (Sender) You (plural informal)
Сіз (Siz) You (singular formal) Сіздер (Sizder) You (plural formal)
Ол (Ol) He/She/It Олар (Olar) They


The declension of the pronouns is outlined in the following chart. Singular pronouns (with the exception of сіз, which used to be plural) exhibit irregularities, while plural pronouns don't. Irregular forms are highlighted in bold.
Declension of pronouns
Nom мен сен сіз ол біз сендер сіздер олар
Acc мені сені сізді оны бізді сендерді сіздерді оларды
Gen менің сенің сіздің оның біздің сендердің сіздердің олардың
Dat маған саған сізге оған бізге сендерге сіздерге оларға
Loc менде сенде сізде онда бізде сендерде сіздерде оларда
Abl менен сенен сізден онан бізден сендерден сіздерден олардан
Inst менімен сенімен сізбен онымен бізбен сендермен сіздермен олармен


In addition to the pronouns, there are several more sets of morphemes dealing with person.
Morphemes indicating person
pronouns copulas possessive endings past/conditional
1st sg мен
2nd sg сен
2nd formal sg сіз
3rd sg ол
1st pl біз
2nd pl сендер
2nd formal pl сіздер
3rd pl олар

Tense, aspect and mood


Kazakh may express different combinations of tense
Grammatical tense
A tense is a grammatical category that locates a situation in time, to indicate when the situation takes place.Bernard Comrie, Aspect, 1976:6:...

, aspect
Grammatical aspect
In linguistics, the grammatical aspect of a verb is a grammatical category that defines the temporal flow in a given action, event, or state, from the point of view of the speaker...

, and mood
Grammatical mood
In linguistics, grammatical mood is a grammatical feature of verbs, used to signal modality. That is, it is the use of verbal inflections that allow speakers to express their attitude toward what they are saying...

 through the use of various verbal morphology or through a system of auxiliary verbs, many of which might better be considered light verbs. For example, the (imperfect) present tense in Kazakh bears different aspectual information depending on whether basic present-tense morphology is used, or one of (commonly) four verbs is used:
Aspect in the Present Tense in Kazakh
Kazakh Aspect English translation
Жеймін non-progressive "I eat."
Жеп жатырмын progressive "I am eating [right now]."
Жеп отырмын progressive/durative "I am [sitting and] eating." / "I have been eating."
Жеп тұрмын progressive/punctual "I am [in the middle of] eating [this very minute]."
Жеп жүрмін habitual/frequentative "I eat [e.g., lunch at home every day]."

Evidentiality


Kazakh exhibits an evidentiality
Evidentiality
In linguistics, evidentiality is, broadly, the indication of the nature of evidence for a given statement; that is, whether evidence exists for the statement and/or what kind of evidence exists. An evidential is the particular grammatical element that indicates evidentiality...

 system which does not neatly align with morphological paradigms.
  • тазалап тастапты – he cleaned it and I saw the result
  • тазалап тастаған – he cleaned it, I saw the result and verified it with him
  • тазалап тастаған екен – he cleaned it and told me, but I probably didn't see the results
  • тазалап тастады – he cleaned it and I saw him clean it
  • тазалап тастағанға ұқсайды – he cleaned it, or so I infer from a result I saw which suggests this
  • тазалап тастаған шығар – he cleaned it, or so I infer from a result I saw which suggests this

External links